Vetrebral Body Tethering Position Statement

The BSRF currently follows the British Scoliosis Society’s (BSS) position statement on Vertebral Body Tethering (VBT). VBT is a non-fusion based spinal surgery used to treat idiopathic scoliosis in children with smaller flexible curves and some growth potential. It was developed in the US approximately 10 years ago and is now being practiced in some countries. Currently, the most common surgery carried out world wide for idiopathic scoliosis, involves placing screws and rods into the back of the spine to achieve correction and spine fusion using some form of graft. This results in loss of mobility of the fused area. VBT may be undertaken as a less invasive procedure and may allow the patient to maintain some flexibility. There are currently no long-term results for VBT although early results in the US and UK look promising. As with many new treatments, there is currently a lot of patient, family and social media interest. However there are still a number of checks and balances which will be considered by bodies such as NICE before NHS England decide whether NHS funding for this procedure will become available in England, and which surgeons and centres will be able to undertake it.  Following a recent Priority Setting Partnership, funded by the BSRF and SAUK, participating patients, their families and clinicians recommended that research funding, for techniques such as VBT, should be considered a funding priority.